Martyn

Ghost People

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Ghost People, released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder, is relatively concise and less moody compared to Martyn’s previous full-length, 2009’s Great Lengths. The whole sternly focused thing is laced with enough emphasis on sound design to function as an immersive headphone listen, while at least two-thirds of it can drain one’s energy on a dancefloor. “Distortions” and "Popgun,” both of which use shunting garage rhythms as a foundation, are among the producer’s most aggressive and physical output. The latter tempers dry and jabbing kick drums with trance-state synthesizer patterns and a detached female voice (Edie Sedgwick?). On the former, Martyn tucks a little sub-bass pressure, dollops of synthetic cowbell, and a host of clipped samples -- grunts, guitar screeches, and FX once deployed by the Bomb Squad -- into a vigorous beat. There's a handful of drumless tracks that seize the ears just as quickly and are not lacking rhythmic force; the pulse-spiking likes of “Viper” and “Bauplan” probe just as much as the club tracks. Martyn doesn’t really do epic, but on the nine-minute finale, “We Are You in the Future,” he empties the clip, drawing upon several inspirations -- including breakbeat hardcore and early Carl Craig circa Psyche’s “Breakdown” -- for an exquisitely organized and tense pileup of riveting sonics. Given its scope and the context of the album, the track seems tacked on, but it’s more like a gold truffle than a displaced bonus track thrown in for added value.

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